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'08 Authors Insider Tips


Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Epublishing: A Different Way
Choosing an Epublisher
Your Milage May Vary
Understand Your Contract!
Reasonable Expectations


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
The Publishing Biz
Critiquing: To Give and ...
Commerical vs. Literary...
Antiformalism for Fun &...
So You Want to Write a Novel
The Story Idea
Planning Your Novel...


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
5 Steps to Success
Inspirational
Opening Passages
Let's Get Critical
Writer's Block
Learning Lessons


Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Be a Finisher ...
Listen to Your Characters
Conferences: Act Now ...
Starting an Erotic Story
Exercises & Writing Prompts
Revising & Rewriting
Copy Editing
The Manuscript Critique
How to Submit Your Work
Reading as Craft


Guest Appearances

Adventures in e-Publishing
by Lisabet Sarai

For the Love of Man
by Laura Baumbach

How to...Influence Editors
by Alison Tyler

Marketing your e-Book
by Brenna Lyons


2008 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Role Play
Busy Doing Nothing
Picture of a Fish & Chip...
What I Did With My Summer


Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Naughty Cookies...
Tie Me Up, Please …
The Smut-Writer’s Holiday
Never Trust the Narrator ...
Compare and Contrast
Following the Pen
Naked at the Farmers Market
I’m Easy, But I’m No Slut
Good Girl Gone Bad
Pleasures of the Dark Side
Slow, Spare and Sexy


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Raising Daughters
Jamie Lynn
Utopias
Lust
The Good Old Days
Election '08
Traditional Marriage
Campaign 2008
Free Will


Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Masturbating on SSRIs
Sex and Disability
Besides Ourselves
Adjusting our Contrast


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Sex Is All Metaphors
Turn-ons and Squicks
Sexual Truth
Fickle Muse
Porn, Erotica & Romance


Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Alison Tyler
Ashley Lister
Debra Hyde
Donna George Storey
Jeremy Edwards
Kristina Wright
Rachel Kramer Bussel


Erotic Hot Spots
by William S. Dean
Interview with Tilly Greene
Interview with Devyn Quinn


Getting Graphic
with William S. Dean
New Times for Readers...
The Future in Words ...
Interview with Fantagraphics


On Writing Erotica

The Accidental Pornographer
by Lisabet Sarai

The End of Innocence
by Lisabet Sarai

Get Them Off in High Style
Helena Settimana

So, You Want To Write Erotica?
by Hanne Blank


Web Gems
Hot Movies For Her

Between the Lines

Ashley Lister talks to Jeremy Edwards



Jeremy EdwardsI know it’s an exaggeration to say that Jeremy Edwards has been in more anthologies than the copyright symbol, but it’s not that far from the truth. He’s a prolific author, deservedly respected and, in his fiction, he manages that rare trick of subtly combining wry humour with the sublimely erotic.

This month I asked Jeremy a few questions about his impressive short story from the anthology Seriously Sexy 1: "Impressionism."


Ashley Lister
: "Impressionism" is a story about a man visiting an art gallery and being subtly seduced by the curator. The setting is a Manhattan gallery. Your first person narrator is Max: a connoisseur of fine art. Your antagonist/curator is Valerie, who begins the story by flashing her panties at Max. And you carry the whole story with a stylish flair that teases the reader along until the final line. Where did the idea come from?

Jeremy Edwards: One day I found myself in a Manhattan art gallery that was laid out like the gallery I later created for this story. A number of those places are long and narrow, reflecting the urban real-estate landscape. But what struck me about this particular gallery was the desk at the far end, with its clear view all the way to the door—and vice versa. No one flashed me; but, hey, art is an interactive experience, and you can’t expect the gallery staff to do all the work. So I did my bit by inventing Valerie. And now I’m more intent than ever on popping in to every art gallery I pass, because I’ve been sensitized to the possibility that, in any given gallery, there may be some poor curator who’s desperate for someone to practice her panty-flashing on. (As you can see, I’m a firm believer in the importance of supporting the fine arts.)

Ashley Lister: One of the most striking things about this story is the measured pace. You’ve laid the plot out as though this is a four act play. Art of the Flash, At Her Opening, The Lady Takes a Seat, and Impressions. Art of the Flash is the longest of these pieces, introducing characters, setting and the framework for the story. Is it important for you to structure your stories so carefully?

Jeremy Edwards: The structure of this particular piece is more formal than that of most of my stories. But even where the structure is articulated less dramatically (so to speak), I try to keep a close eye on structure—in conjunction with pacing—to ensure that a story works the way I want it to. Apart from keeping the progression of events logical and (hopefully) compelling, I want to make sure that the shape of the story is satisfying—a smooth ride, ending at a time and place that feel natural. Sometimes, as I’m drafting a piece, the story seems to flow in a way that has an inherent, viable structure to it. (I love it when that happens!) On other occasions, I have to make more of a conscious effort to assemble or mold the elements of the story into something that’s structurally sound. I may have to brainstorm regarding how to make “this part over here” hook up with “that part over there.” You know, parts spread out all over the floor, as I stand there with a tube of glue in my hand, scratching my head while I ponder which pieces are missing. (This may strike the reader as a stereotypical “guy” way to think about writing. Rest assured that despite my gender, I am mechanically disinclined and dysfunctional. And why I have a tube of glue in my hand is a mystery—or possibly a crude double entendre.)

As far as scene-changing mechanisms go, the division of “Impressionism” into titled sections represents what I think of as an “endpoint” on the continuity continuum. Story to story, I find that there’s a certain type of transition that seems to call for a seamless segue (if it can be managed), whereby one scene flows into another with no loss of momentum; while a more abrupt discontinuity in the events might demand a formal section break. Basically, I feel that if the transition is dramatic enough that the reader can hear scenery being shifted, then it behooves me to pull the curtain down for a moment.

* * *

Like that.

And in “Impressionism,” the sections felt so much like little dramatic “episodes” to me that I couldn’t resist giving them whimsical titles. (I was also inspired by the fact that the art lingo seemed to lend itself so readily to wordplay-infused section titles.)

Ashley Lister: Because the narrative comes from the first person perspective of the male protagonist the reader is only able to appreciate what’s happening in the story from Max’s point of view. In some ways this is good because Max is a confident character and honest about his own reservations. He initially believes that Valerie might be attracted to him but he’s also honest enough to admit that he could be mistaken. It also works because a voyeur is the ideal person to narrate a story about an exhibitionist. But did you find any drawbacks with telling this story from Max’s perspective?

Jeremy Edwards: In this case, limiting the story to Max’s perspective seemed to mesh well with my goals, in that I was primarily trying to convey the experience of being seduced. The experience of the person doing the seducing might be a whole separate story (or the other half of a story twice as long as this one!). But, though I don’t think it was the case here, there have been other stories in which I’ve had to make little sacrifices in the course of favoring one point of view over the other. As we know, a writer can use an omniscient narration style—or point-of-view shifts—but often I want to limit myself to one point of view, for a variety of reasons. If I feel that 95 percent of what I want to relate in the story is best told from Character A’s point of view, then I may have to rethink the 5 percent that would ideally be told from Character B’s point of view. In such a situation, perhaps that 5 percent can be reworked into things that Character A observes, infers, and/or speculates about. Or perhaps those elements can be things that the reader is left to infer or speculate about. And, who knows (Virtue out of Necessity Department), maybe one of the above strategies will actually enrich the story by providing additional interesting angles, angles that would not have been present were Character B’s bits related in a more straightforward manner. Alternatively, perhaps these particular details will just be abandoned—an actual sacrifice of a part, in the interest of making the whole function properly. (That 5 percent wasn’t very important, anyway. Right? Right?)

Ashley Lister: The theme of art, paintings and posing are recurrent in this story—as is only apt for a story about someone visiting an art gallery. Was it the connection between exhibitions and exhibitionism that fuelled the key scene in the story?

Jeremy Edwards: That connection emerged as the story took shape, but I’m not sure I was consciously thinking about it when I originally conceived the piece. In conjunction with the real-life, flashing-friendly desk, what motivated me to write this particular story was that I find art sexy, and I find art galleries sexy, and I find art-loving women who work in art galleries sexy. So the art-gallery environment was so inherently appealing to me that all it took was one well-situated desk to get me off and running. And yet, I think the premise I came up with did instantly invoke a relationship between exhibiting and exhibitionism, even if I wasn’t conscious of that until later on in the writing process. The position of the viewer/voyeur vis-à-vis someone or something that is on exhibition made the showcasing of the art and the showcasing of the panties a harmonious and inviting combination for me.

And, in retrospect, I can say that if I’d been inspired by seeing a desk facing the door at the end of some other type of long, narrow storefront—rather than in an art gallery—it’s most likely I would have changed it to an art gallery when sitting down to write, and the same story would have resulted.

Ashley Lister: I think my favourite feature of this story is that the interaction between Max and Valerie is so deftly played that the fulfilment of their sexual relationship is almost immaterial. The electricity between the characters is powerfully charged and the eroticism is one long, well-crafted build to the climax. You manage to be sexually suggestive without being gratuitous or explicit. Without wanting to sound too pretentious, it would be easy to read this story of an exhibitionist and voyeur as allegorical to a painting being viewed by an art aficionado. Valerie is the painting. Max is admiring her. Was this thought at the back of your mind whilst you were creating the story? And is that why the couple’s physical interaction is more restricted than in your usual fiction?

Jeremy Edwards: I do think that the art/viewer metaphor was implicitly relevant to how I portrayed Max’s response to Valerie. I see him as somebody for whom the process of being intrigued by and becoming acquainted with a painting translates well into other aspects of his life—everything from exploring a bottle of wine to being seduced by a personality. Valerie’s actions and words, and her whole style of seduction, are delivered in the language Max responds to—the language of dynamic beauty and soulful, deep-seated charm, where the longer you look, the more you see. Obviously, Valerie isn’t passive in the way an inanimate object like a literal work of art is—she instigates the situation and at various points moves it forward—but she does deliberately let Max study her, as he would a painting, giving him space to “discover” her and draw conclusions.

The fact that the story ends before a lot of physical interaction happens can be attributed, in part, to structure/pacing choices. Something told me it might be anticlimactic to extend the final sex scene. I suppose, for me, the natural climax of this story is the “no turning back” moment when the seduction comes to fruition, when there’s no doubt as to its outcome. Now, if there’d been less focus on things like moist panties and masturbation in the course of the story, it might have been a problem to end it where I did: this is erotica, after all. But I gambled that I’d given enough erotic attention to Valerie’s behavior toward Max, and to the effect it has on him, that I could get away with a “less is more” approach at the end.

And I think you’re right: in a way, the nature of the ending is related to the art/viewer metaphor you’re talking about. The structure of the seduction, that dance of the fascinated voyeur around the confident exhibitionist, during which he watches and smells and touches her, is connected to the climax occurring where and how it does, rather than with the principals experiencing an actual sexual climax. As the story closes, we know that they are at the point where they’re beginning to explore and enjoy each other physically all over—and that they will go cheerfully forward with this, without any additional authorial assistance. But even though Valerie’s not literally a painting, thank goodness (with that pesky “no touching” rule in place), I would say that the exhibitionist-voyeur nature of their interaction means that a lot of their sexual satisfaction has already occurred before they start undressing in Max’s apartment. I think that for this kind of voyeur-exhibitionist pair, the morsels of displaying and watching are more than just foreplay—to some extent, they are the sex. Just as an art lover gets fulfilment by looking, Max gets a great degree of fulfilment from taking in the acts of exhibition that Valerie offers—and she gets great fulfilment from the process of exhibiting and being appreciated. When they each masturbate after their initial encounter (as we know Max does and presume that Valerie does), it’s not an act of frustration or desperation; it’s an expression or extension of the fulfilment they’ve already given each other.


More about Jeremy Edward, and his exquisitely written fiction, can be found at: http://jerotic.blogspot.com.

Ashley Lister
July 2008

______
"Between the Lines" © 2008 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms.His most recent work, Swingers: True Confessions from Today's Modern Swinging Scene (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753511355), a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his first title published under his own name.
Ashley’s non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica. Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto. He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.
Websites: www.ashleylister.co.uk / ashleylister.blogspot.com



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'08 Movie Reviews

Almost Perfect
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'08 Book Reviews

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Open for Business
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Possession
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Rubber Sex
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Rubber Sex
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Spanked
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Tasting Her
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Tasting Him
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Yes, Sir: Female Submission
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The Hidden Grotto Series
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In Too Deep
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Sunfire (eBook)
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The Wicked Sex
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Wild Kingdom
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Gay Erotica

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Best Gay Romance '08
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Hard Hats
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Lesbian Erotica

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Non-Fiction

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